Finally, I baked my first successful sourdough wholegrain miche.
I am a very inexperienced baker who has been trying to bake a decent whole grain boule for the past month. I have had success using kneadless techniques and recipes from Nancy Bagget's Kneadlessly Simple book but wanted to have more control than the kneadless technique allows. I've tried several of Peter Reinhardt's yeasted multi grain and whole grain recipes but invariable found that while the flavor was good, the crumb tended to be very tight and the bread dense.
I decided to try the European style whole grain recipe from Breadtopia web site courtesy of Eric mainly because it seemed fairly simple based on his video.
I created a wholegrain starter based on Peter Reinhardt's approach and after 7 days tried my first European style whole grain. I followed the recipe very closely with the exception of using a hearth and steam pan rather than the la Cloche used by Eric. I was disappointed by the result. Even though the loaf seemed to have a good oven spring, the crumb was very tight and dense and the bread lacked a sourdough flavor. I think the latter was due to my starter being too new and not developed enough.
For my next attempt decided to try to focus on technique. I built up my starter for a week at room temperature feeding twice a day. I revised the recipe by increasing the hydration to 75% and using several of the techniques described by several posters on this site. I mixed the dough by hand without adding the salt and used a 30 minute autolyze. Then I added salt and kneaded the dough for 4 ½ minutes in my Kitchenaid until the gluten just began to form (about 4 minutes). Then I rested the dough for 20 minutes and performed 3 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals. Next I retarded dough in fridge for 24 hours. I then left dough at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping and placing into a banneton. I let the dough proof for 4 hours at room temperature before hearth baking for 45 minutes in a 440 degree oven with steam for the first 15 minutes.
I knew that this attempt was THE ONE the instant the wonderful aroma filled the house. Pictures below show the results....yes, yes, I know the scoring is bush league and there is no stenciling but I am a novice. It's like dad just took the training wheels off my bike and I made it all the way down the driveway.
I definitely can still improve my technique... the dough was a little sticky due to its hydration level and stuck to the banneton when I placed it on the peel. The shaking needed to dislodge the dough caused some deflation and distorted the shape of the boule. Next time I will line banneton with parchment. Obviously the scouring and shaping are a work in process!
Thanks to all the generous folks on this site for their willingness to share their vast knowledge. I've invested in a number of the books referred to by posters and I look forward to absorbing and trying some new techniques.